India

Winter 2018

Jaipur

One of the first places we visited is an astronomy park called Jantar Mantar. It’s an observatory with old, traditional instruments to tell zodiac signs and time. It blew my mind to explore the latest innovations of the era and the creative ways that people came up with to track time. The giant sundial impressed me the most, which can determine the time to seconds. I stood by, watching the shadow of the sun move along the indicators. It turns out that when I squinted hard, I could see the shadow actually moving along the stone. This means that I could indirectly see the sun moving. Who knows, maybe it was placebo.

Next, we visited City Palace, which was in the middle of the city. Despite it being close by, it took almost an hour to get there – the traffic was insane. The palace was huge, brimming with culture and tradition.

We also visited Amber Fortress, which was another massive palace far away. I tried to imagine it when it was being used for the royal family, and not for tourism. These questions always perk my curiosity, because I’ll never understand what it was like when used for its purpose.

That afternoon we went to Elephant Joy, where we rode elephants around the field. After, we painted, washed, and fed them. It was amazing for me to see how majestic and calm they were. Riding them was even more fun, even if just in circles, and the elephant seemed to love it. I loved feeding them bananas – at first it was kind of scary, but in the end, I embraced their huge slobbering tongues.